British HGV market up 9.5% after a year of pandemic-led decline

New heavy goods vehicle (HGV) registrations in the UK increased by 9.5% in the first three months of 2021, according to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) data.

The increase saw 10,064 units registered in the first quarter of the year, up on 2020 albeit following a weak Q1 last year when lockdown measures introduced partway through March and fluctuations in the fleet renewal cycle subdued demand and still 15.1% down on pre-pandemic levels in Q1 2019. Articulated trucks saw the biggest increase in demand, with registrations up 25.3% to 4,528 vehicles, while rigids decreased 0.8% to 5,536 units. Tractors remained the biggest segment, making up 44.3% of the market, with 26.6% more units registered than Q1 2020.

Tipper registrations also increased, up 10.8%.

However, registrations of most segments dropped, as the pandemic affected business operations, suppressing demand for most of the past year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The rise in truck registrations is welcome news but it does not yet signify full recovery, especially as it’s in comparison with a quarter when the first lockdown was introduced.”